Las Cuatro Milpas
1875 Logan Ave. (Cesar E. Chavez Pkwy.)
San Diego, CA 92113
By Judi Curry
In a way, it grieves me to be writing this review because Las Cuatro Milpas is one of my very favorite Mexican Restaurants and it is already so busy I hate to know that others reading this review will want to get in their car and drive down to Barrio Logan immediately.
But before you do, check the time because they open at 8:30am and close at 3:00pm, UNLESS they run out of food and close earlier.
The first time I went to this wonderful, small – much smaller then than now – was in 1966. My husband and I stood in line for almost 35 minutes, next to the then-mayor and Police Chief of San Diego. The line stretched almost around the block then – and still does today.(New people stand in line now – they served all the “old ones.”)
There is a very limited menu – don’t expect “Taco Bell” because it isn’t – but their Chorizo, beans and rice is excellent. Go there for breakfast and have an “huevo” (egg) on top. Their tacos are great! And their tortillas are the “old fashioned” kind – cooked in lard. The restaurant was owned by Petra and Nati who, by any standards, were “seniors” back then. When they passed on it was taken over by their children, and later by THEIR children, and I believe still another generation runs it today.
Today I took Frank from my physical therapy office to try it out. He hasn’t lived in San Diego long, and actually lives off of 10th Avenue, but had never ventured south of his apartment. He had a jaundiced opinion, no doubt because of the reputation that the Barrio had many years ago. It has cleaned up tremendously. I never was fearful of going to Las Cuatro Milpas, and Chewy’s, or any other restaurant in the Barrio Logan area during the day, but now I think I would not be fearful of going at night.
Although we didn’t get there until after 1:00pm, there was still a line, albeit much shorter than the 11:30-12:30 line; parking was easier; and finding a table to sit at was easy. Even when we left at 1:45pm there was still a small line of patrons waiting to place their order.
There is no printed menu, per se. The menu is on a board above the cooking area lists everything they have to offer. When you first walk in to the restaurant fresh cooked tortillas are available, just waiting for you to pick up a package to take home with you. The ladies behind the counter are all busy; cooking; placing orders; helping another grandmother ring up the order.
I ordered 8 tacos to go – after all, it was Tuesday, and I read an article a few weeks ago on this site (eds note- on April Fools Day!) that the health department was thinking of closing up Taco Tuesday joints because they were unfair to other ethnic restaurants, so I wanted my students at home to enjoy tacos. I also ordered a kilo of freshly made flour tortillas. Additionally, I ordered a bowl of chorizo, rice and beans and one taco to eat there, and a bottle of water to drink. Frank ordered 2 taco’s and a diet Dr. Pepper, and our total bill – with the take-out, just under $30.
And were they good! The tacos were crispy, well cooked, and served with lettuce and hot sauce. There does not seem to be any change in the recipe for the chorizo bowl over the 47 years I have eaten it there. I know why people go there over and over. Even Frank said now that he knew where it was he’d go back again.
I know that I will go back again – in fact – I will be there this Friday with all three of my daughters – for old time sake – and because the cravings hit all of us at one time. Come join us. You will be so glad that you did. And if you do go – earlier is better. The line isn’t so long.